Honorary Doctorate Prof. Katharina Boele-Woelki

On the 23rd of March, 2016, prof. Katharina Boele-Woelki received an honorary doctorate from the University of Antwerp. ‘She is the most prominent professor of international family law and is among the best in the world in her field’, according to prof. Frederik Swennen, who acted as supervisor. For more information see the website of UAntwerp.





Invitation for the Tenth UCERF Symposium

On the 21st of April 2016 the tenth UCERF Symposium will take place. A broad range of topics will be presented, including: contested divorces, international child abduction and child protection measures. The speakers are: Sylvia Wortmann, Prof. Masha Antokolskaia, Luc Strikwerda, dr. Merel Jonker, Prof. Ido Weijers, Prof. Katharina Boele-Woelki, Katrien van Stratum and Prof. Marian Verkerk. The symposium starts at 11.00 and ends at 17.00 with a bite and a drink. See the programme and the official invitation here. The symposium will be held in Dutch. To register please fill in and send the form (click here).



WODC research International Child Abduction

UCERF researches have conducted research into International Child Abduction in collaboration with the DSP-groep. It concerned a process analysis and a comparative legal study of the current procedure of incoming applications of international child abduction as commissioned by the Ministry of Security and Justice. In late October, the research report ‘International child abduction The Current procedure of incoming applications in the Netherlands, England & Wales, Sweden and Switzerland’ was presented to the House of Representatives. Click here for the complete report (in Dutch) and a summary (in English).
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Annually there are approximately 50 incoming cases of international child abduction in the Netherlands. These are cases in which a child is unlawfully moved from abroad to the Netherlands. In light of (inter)national laws, the Netherlands is obliged to act with urgency in such cases. Since 2009 a number of important legislative amendments and policy changes have taken place to expedite incoming applications of international child abduction. The main changes were the changing role of the Central Authority (from legal representative to system coordinator), the concentration of jurisdiction in The Hague and the limitation of the right to appeal to cassation on a point of law. The research concerns the question whether these changes are implemented as envisaged and how the Dutch practical implementation compares to the implementation in other countries with a comparable system.

The research shows that the changes have generally been implemented as envisaged, in which it is evident that all parties endeavor to ensure that the procedure goes as well as possible for the parents and the child. However, in some respects the process can be improved, in which it is crucial that there is good coordination between the parties and that they are facilitated in their provision of services.

Improvements are possible on the following points:

  • Providing clarity about the obligations and responsibilities of the Central Authority.
  • Increasing transparency, both internally (particularly the Central Authority) and throughout the case process; on how the case is progressing and the detection of reasons for problems encountered.
  • Providing clarity about the role of the IKO-case number and the (financial) consequences for parents and professionals when the IKO-case number is missing.
  • Speeding up the duration of procedures in especially the first phase of the procedure.
  • More supervision and guidance at (involuntary) returns.

The research report will be also be published in early November by Boom Juridische uitgevers in the series Familie en Recht: M. Jonker, M. Abraham, C. Jeppesen de Boer, W. Van Rossum & K. Boele Woelki, Internationale kinderontvoering, De uitvoeringspraktijk van inkomende zaken in Nederland, Engeland & Wales, Zweden en Zwitserland. Den Haag: Boom Juridische uitgevers 2015.

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PhD Conferral Natalie Nikolina

On the 23rd of October the PhD defense of Natalie Nikolina took place in the Senaatszaal of the Utrecht University Academiegebouw at 2:30 pm. The dissertation, ‘Divided Parents, Shared Children. Legal aspects of (residential) co-parenting in England, the Netherlands and Belgium’, describes a socio-legal, comparative study into residential co-parenting in the jurisdictions of England, Belgium and the Netherlands. The research forms part of a major study into residential agreements and their effect on children and parents. Her book has been published in the European Family Law series and can be found here.



Symposium on the introduction of a limited community of property in the Netherlands

The legislative proposal for the introduction of a limited community of property in the Netherlands has lead to quite some discussions within family law. On the 22nd of May 2015 the symposium ‘Introduction of a limited community of property in the Netherlands: Comments from abroad, legal practice, politics and academia’ took place in Utrecht organised by UCERF in association with the open access forum Familie & Recht, the notarial course Utrecht and the Notarieel Instituut Groningen. Chaired by Katharina Boele-Woelki, the afternoon was  split into two parts.

The first part of the afternoon had a comparative legal perspective. Prof. Leon Verstappen (RUG) started by presenting the Dutch legislative proposal including his proposals for amendments. The issues raised in legal literature were then discussed from the perspective of three European countries. Prof. Charlotte Declerck (Universiteit Hasselt/Leuven) commented from a Belgian perspective, Rechtsanwalt Wolfgang Eule (Kanzlei Eule & Dr. Tangenberg) from a German perspective and Mia Reich-Sjögren (Lawyer in Göteberg) from a Scandinavian perspective. All three speakers illustrated how in their respective countries the raised issues formed, or totally did not form, a problem.

In the second part of the afternoon there were reactions from legal practice, politics and academia. mr. Foort van Oosten, co-initiator of the legislative proposal and Member of Parliament for the VVD reacted from the political viewpoint. From legal practice, notary mr. Peter Blokland (Daamen de Koort van Tuijl Notarissen) and lawyer mr. Thomas Subleack (Banning Advocaten) spoke about the pros and cons of the legislative proposal.